Healthy Forests Healthy Waters

Healthy Forests, Healthy Waters

"Healthy Forests, Healthy Waters" stands as Maryland's most expansive tree planting program on privately-owned lands. This initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Maryland Forest Service, the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bay Trust Fund, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and the Maryland Forestry Foundation.

By spring 2024, the project will have planted nearly 500,000 trees across 19 counties, encompassing over 250 private landowner project sites. The primary aim is to achieve significant and cost-effective reductions in nutrient and sediment runoff into the Chesapeake Bay by employing afforestation and long-term forest management strategies.

The program's commitment to landowners includes maintaining the health and success of plantings through regular maintenance during the initial three years, resulting in excellent survivability rates.

If you are interested in participating in the HFHW program, contact us at

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  1. Landowner Engagement/BMP Implementation: The Maryland Forest Service, in collaboration with the Alliance, engages private landowners who have proposed but have not yet implemented nutrient and sediment management projects within their forest management plans. The state Forest Service keeps a list of potential projects across all Maryland counties that can include:

    • Riparian buffer planting
    • Tree planting
    • Road stabilization/erosion control/sediment reduction

    Landowners are contacted to gauge their continued interest in plan implementation, and specific plans are written up for participation in the HFHW program.  Landowners agree to maintain the new forest for a period of ten years.

  2. Practice Implementation: Tree planting contractors are engaged throughout the state to implement practices with approved landowners which can include a further 3 years of maintenance to ensure high survivability rates of new plantings.

Forestry Board members in each selected county are encouraged to meet and support landowners throughout project implementation and maintenance phases. Board members are also encouraged to inform landowners about other conservation programs available to help sustain their property's ecosystem services, such as permanent easements/mitigation bank opportunities and current use tax programs. 

To ensure that the installed practices function as intended, regional State Foresters will verify all projects. If the practices do not meet state standards, the Forest Service will require contractors to make necessary adjustments. Forestry Board members from the local counties are encouraged to visit the sites and monitor each project, including providing photo documentation as part of the monitoring report.

Landowners participating in the project have committed to maintaining the installed practices for their recognized "life-span," currently set at 10 years.  Every project will be required to maintain their practice in accordance with a state-approved forest management plan.

To learn more or discuss participation possibilities, please contact us at